There's a crazy long debate going on at this article over on Catholic Answers, and I've learned so much from reading not only the original article, but the comments as well. I've learned how strong the Catholic (and Orthodox) case is for the sacramental view of baptism, and comparably, how ridiculous many Fundamentalist Protestants are with their weak arguments and how they have to twist and contort pretty explicit Scripture passages, just so the Scriptures can fit their faulty theology that never existed before 1500 A.D.
|St Augustine Baptizes the Cathechumens- Girolamo Genga|
So as I'm looking at all this, there was another short piece posted by Dave Armstrong that caught my eye, and helped me to articulate something I've been thinking about for quite a while. So in this conversation that Mr. Armstrong was having with a Protestant about baptism, the Protestant "brought up the classic Protestant 'gospel' verse of John 3:16 and said that it was odd that baptism wasn’t mentioned in it, if indeed it were so crucial to salvation. I countered that with Mark 16:16 ".
Whenever I hear stuff like this it confuses me. Mark 16:16 is a great proof that we are not saved by ONLY believing in Christ. Now, if I'm approached with the notion that what is contained in John 3:16 is all we need to be saved, I often think to myself, "There's a bunch of other passages in the Bible where we're told we're saved by other things, like eating Christ's Body and Blood, or by keeping the Commandments." I found one Catholic blogger that gave all these Scripture passages professing how we're saved:
"In fact, our Catholic faith takes the Word of God in its entirety to declare how we are saved. We do not take one event, one verse, one incident, and glean from that a theology of salvation.
Here's how Catholics profess we are saved...
By believing in Christ (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31
By repentance (Acts 2:38; 2 Pet 3:9)
By baptism (Jn 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21; Titus 3:5)
By eating his flesh and drinking his blood (Jn 6)
By the work of the Spirit (Jn 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6)
By declaring with our mouths (Lk 12:8; Rom 10:9)
By coming to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4; Heb 10:26)
By works (Rom 2:6-7; James 2:24)
By grace (Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8)
By his blood (Rom 5:9; Heb 9:22)
By his righteousness (Rom 5:17; 2 Pet 1:1)
By keeping the commandments (Matt 19:17)
By our words (Matt 12:37)"
I mean, just look at all these different things! This is where my point I was talking about at the beginning comes in...
|The Baptism of the Eunuch- Jan van der Elburcht|
I'm really starting to see first-hand more and more in the past several months how many non-Catholic Christians just read their own theology and preconceived notions into the Scriptures. I guess when one takes such a legalistic and literal view only of Scripture, you get the abounding heresies and outright falsehoods we see perpetuated in many Protestant churches, especially among the Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. I can only pray that one day people will stop sticking their heads in the sand, and like the eunuch in Acts, realize that we need someone to interpret the Scriptures for us. Thank God for the Magisterium of His holy Catholic Church.